Powerball winners swear to be trust's only members

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 11:10 PM
Powerball winners swear to be trust's only members

Three Greenwich men who claimed a $254 million Powerball prize swore in an affidavit sent to lottery officials that they are the only beneficiaries of a trust set up for the money, a step that a spokesman for the trio said should help put to rest any doubt that they are the real winners.

The document, which was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request, was signed a day after a news conference announcing the three wealth managers as the winners of the record-breaking jackpot. The men had found themselves facing public skepticism after a landlord for their company claimed one of them told him they were representing a fourth person who did not want his identity disclosed.

Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, all employees of the asset management firm Belpointe, were paid the lump-sum prize of $103.6 million after taxes. A lawyer for the men said previously there is no fourth winner, and Connecticut Lottery Corp. officials say that all their rules were followed, and they consider the trio the legitimate winners.

A New York publicist for the three men said the document should resolve any doubt that they are the rightful winners of the prize.

"I would think it would, but human nature being as it is, probably not," publicist Gary Lewi told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers.

In the affidavit signed on Nov. 29, the winners say they are the only lifetime beneficiaries of a trust set up for the money.

"This affidavit is made to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation with the understanding that is it is relying thereon in determining that no ineligible person, as defined under all applicable law, rules and/or regulations, is a lifetime beneficiary of principal or income of said Trust," it reads.

The winning ticket was signed on the back by Davidson. It was purchased at a Stamford gas station on Nov. 1, a day before the drawing that yielded the biggest jackpot in Connecticut lottery history. Lottery rules generally consider the holder of a winning ticket to be the jackpot winner.

Details of the lottery documents were reported earlier Tuesday by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers and the Hartford Courant, which reported that the trust fund agreement calls for the money to transfer from the original trust, the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, to a second trust named the West Putnam Avenue Trust after one year. The affidavit pledges that there are no silent partners of the new trust.

The landlord, Thomas Gladstone, said Lacoff told him the three men were representing a client who wanted to remain anonymous.

Over the weekend, a spokesman for the trust announced the three winners were splitting a $1 million gift among five veterans' service organizations. They said they plan to use their investment expertise to build the jackpot into even more money for charitable gifts.

Lewi told the Hearst newspapers that as far as he knows, the prize has not kept the three men from returning to work.

"They are back at work every day," he said. "It sounds to me, based on what I'm hearing anecdotally, they're still doing what they do every day."